The last chapter! Thank you for reading.
Can it be?
"Bella, goodness! Bella!"
She must have died. Maybe Nicholas killed her after he couldn't find any prey nearby? For surely this could not be anything but heaven.
The marble arms Bella missed for so long are suddenly holding her, cradling her, soothing her desperate crying. But now her weeping has a different note to it - the hopelessness is gone, replaced entirely by relief and gratitude. The velvet voice of her loved one fills her head, removing all signs of pain.
"Did he hurt you? Do you know why he took you? Where is he now? Shh, it's alright, I'm here. Just wait until he comes back…"
Edward can feel Bella in his arms, the warm, soft skin of her bare arms wrapped around him. The release is tremendous; Bella is there, safe and sound, alive! The hatred towards her abductor is covered by joy, even if only for the moment, causing tearless sobs to almost overwhelm him.
"Edward! I-I can't believe you're here. I was so scared…"
So he scared her. The creature, the beast, the monster had dared to terrify his angel.
"I know, Bella, I know. But it's over now. You're safe. Let's get you out of this cursed prison before the other vampire…"
"Edward! Look out!"
Bella had been too lost in the bliss to notice the other vampires crowd the room. There they stand, the whole Cullen family, gazing upon the lovers with satisfaction clear in their features. The pixie in the corner, however, is looking at the front door with a worried expression. Both lovers turn their heads in that direction.
A white figure emerges at the doorway, staring at the shattered pieces of broken wood. Realization hits him immediately. "Julie!" Another vampire is there, in the house with his love, possibly willing to take her away. The Cullens! Nicholas attempts to duck at the vampire holding his dearest, but is pushed back by a wall of stone.
"Don't go anywhere near her! Nobody kidnaps my brother's fiancé…" The big, burly vampire is talking, staring at Nicholas with a look of death. He is lifted up in an instant, and crashes against the back wall of the living room, landing on the wooden floor with a loud thud. Nicholas is enraged as he rises to his feet again, and, snarling loudly, smashes into the big vampire.
Bella is watching the combat from the safe haven of Edward's arms, shivering slightly more with each punch and growl. Edward is shivering, too, wanting to join the fight, but reluctant to leave his love's side. Ultimately, the temptation of punishing Bella's captor wins the battle, and he calls out to his family to stop.
Immediately, the scene quiets, revealing a thrashing Nicholas being held by two of the male vampires. The hostility is thick in the air.
"Let…go…of…Julie!" Nicholas screams, struggling against the firm hold of the surrounding vampires.
Giving Bella a peck on the cheek, Edward releases her to the pixie's care, and walks over to Nicholas. "I have no idea who you are, or what you want from her. But Bella is not going to honor you with her presence any longer. The only thing holding me back from tearing you to shreds is the fact that she's here, watching. But Alice will be kind enough to get her out of the room now, please."
At these words, the fairy picks the girl up and carries her out to the yard, ignoring her loud protests. Edward's position loosens up immensely once this is done, and he devotes his full attention to the vampire in front of him. The detestation of the man in front of him is overpowering, and it takes every bit of Edward's control not to kill him right there and then. But first, he wants answers.
"Let go of me, now. She is my Julie, my Julie, and if you'd give her a chance to talk, she'd tell you just that. I am not the captor here - you are!" Nicholas' tone is etched with odium and menace. The ruby eyes are fixed on the ocher ones of Edward, the bond between them as sharp as a sword, as toxic as poison. Both yearn for the other's death, both long to see the clouds of smoke coming from their burning bodies…
A nod of the head, and the other male vampires release their grips on Nicholas, letting him fall to the ground. He lands accurately on his feet, not freeing the intense stare. He does not leap at the man though, for he knows his every move would only be blocked by one of his. The other vampires take a step back, not intending to leave the room, but to watch the situation with ominous gazes.
"So, you think my Bella is your Julie. See where I might have a problem with that?" The vampire with the ocher eyes starts circling Nicholas. The latter rises to his feet, and returns the gesture. Both orbit around each other, like two giant planets about to crash into one another in space. All that matters is there, in the middle of their circle, a colossal amount of energy about to burst. Their eyes never leave the stare, communicating the emotions of pure hate and anger.
"She is my Julie. It's too bad your love turned out to be that of mine. But you will get over it, with time. You love her just as much as I do; only she loves me back. Those are the consequences of using copies - they never last. If you really care for her, you will leave now, and let us both in peace. By attacking me you will only cause her pain."
"I was rather under the impression that she was glad about my arrival, actually. Naturally, if she wants me to leave so she can be with you, I will. I will leave and never show myself to her. But until then, she is mine. Nobody hurts her, nobody scares her. And that is what you have done."
A growl is building up in both chests, and it is only seconds away from the final attack.
"She is Julie. She remembered, earlier today. She remembered who she really was. Perhaps the memories escaped her again. But either way, she doesn't want you. You mean nothing to her. And you and Isabella know nothing of true love! The bond between you is ridiculously thin, built up on curiosity and bewilderment on both sides. What me and Julie had and still possess is depth and respect, love and cherishing! You want her to live a life of misery? Go ahead, then, destroy me! Perhaps vampires can be reborn, as well, and then I will find her again. I promise, you will never be able to keep her from me! This game will continue for eternity, if that is what you wish. Unless you somehow do feel for her, in which case you will hand her to me."
Edward's eyes are cold, turning black with hatred. How dare he speak of his and Bella's love in such a manner? Only a sparkle of insecurity lights in him for a moment, only to be diminished by the memory of Bella's state as he had arrived. Reincarnation - what foolishness! Bella is only Bella, created by God, living on the Earth for the first time, the Bella who chose him! The words that Nicholas uttered are meaningless, the logic of a madman. And how dare he compare their love to that of his? The love that was filled with arguments, anger, and in the end even the death of the main character?
"If I recall correctly, you were thinking about the day you killed your precious Julie. That is what you call true love? You killed her, sucked the life right out of her!" Edward sees the images fill the vampire's mind again, the memory of the taste of her sweet blood… No, how could such a monster be loved by a human being?
The last comment infuriates Nicholas. Edward has hit the sorest spot of his existence, rubbed salt into the wounds. "Haven't you ever slipped? I remember reading about a killing spree caused by you a few years back. You are as much of a monster as I am, say what you please! Did you not almost kill her when you first met? How many times have you had to leave her room at night, when her scent is almost overpowering? The same could happen to you anytime. You are a hypocrite if you choose not to believe it."
Now Edward's head is filled by memories of his own, the floral smell of Bella's blood when she stirs in her sleep at night, the way the little bedroom is clouded by it, how he must sometimes open the window to remain sane, sometimes even resulting him to go outside to clear his head before Bella wakes up in the morning, unaware of the nightly events. Guilt spreads in him, taking over every fragment of his being, as he recalls all the times when he was close, so close, to taking her life. He cannot help the emotion coming over his face, and Nicholas sneers at the sight of it, "Told you so. You are in no position whatsoever to criticize my mistakes, when you so very nearly made the same!"
But he has never slipped. When the monster threatens to take over, he is always able to walk away.
"No. What I feel for Bella is much stronger than what you and Julie ever shared. I must say, the girl was a fool to be with you, much more foolish than Bella ever was. Look at your crimson eyes, Nicholas! How can a girl love that? You have never learned restraint, and what happened to Julie is a punishment for all that. She was only trying to do the right thing, and you decide to kill her while she is being sensible for once! No, you didn't love her as much as I love Bella, for if you did, you would have done anything she asked you to."
With this, Nicholas pounces on the vampire opposite him, putting an end to the eternal circling. The planets crash.
An earsplitting sound fills the room, like thunder at the beginning of the storm. The lightning follows, causing Nicholas to fly across the table, producing a crack in the thick wood. There is no pause before both vampires are on each other again, moving too fast for the human eye to detect. Loud snarling fills the house, and even Bella can hear this as she waits outside under the pixie's arrest.
Her chest is filled with worry for her loved one, though she knows that Nicholas has not much of a chance with the whole Cullen family there. She must cover her ears from the sound and wishes for it to be over soon, so she can fall back into the arms of the man she has missed for so long.
After what seems like hours to her, the front door opens and Edward steps outside, standing next to her in a blur. The pixie releases Bella, who is then lifted up by Edward, instead. Both lovers embrace each other, muttering words of affection, and then look in each other's eyes, letting the emotions gain control of their features. Bella's cheeks are strained from a week's worth of tears, as well as with fatigue of the many restless nights. Edward's face still reveals hints of the anxiety and concern for his love. But both bear the same expression - that of passion, devotion for each other.
The rest of the vampires join them outside, and then turn to stare back at the house. The windows of the lower floors expose warm light coming from the living room, and slowly the flames begin crawling up the outer wall. No words are spoken as the seven vampires and one human view the fire taking the house in control, the roof eventually collapsing, the walls turning to ash.
And amid all the thick smoke, a dark silhouette, only visible to the girl's eyes, rises up to the sky, meeting a figure of light on its way. The two shapes flow into each other, and finally dissolve in the night air.
The vampire and the human are reunited once again.